An allergy is a hypersensitive immune response by the body to a substance it comes into contact with. Symptoms can be expressed through the respiratory system (coughing, inflammation, difficulty breathing), skin (eczema, dermatitis), digestive system (diarrhoea, gas, abdominal pain), nose and eyes (conjunctivitis, runny nose, sneezing)
The cause of an allergy can vary dramatically from person to person depending on their personal microbiome. Factors such as diet, lifestyle, geographic location and genetics all can trigger an allergic response. Common allergens are pollen, dust mites, mould, animal hair, insect stings, food (particularly wheat, dairy, peanuts and soy) and various drugs.
As the use of different pesticides, fertilisers, pollutants, pharmaceuticals and chemical compounds make their way into our lives more and more allergies are on the rise, particularly amongst children. Nutrition is a powerful tool in supporting the immune system and reducing inflammatory responses, particularly in food allergies.
The consumption of antioxidant-rich foods, particularly those high in vitamin C, A and beta carotene, is directly linked to healthy immune function. In addition, anti-inflammatories such as ginger, turmeric, omega-3 rich foods including chia seeds and dark-leafy greens can all help alleviate the symptoms of an allergic reaction.
Another important consideration in combatting an allergy, particularly one resulting from food sensitivity, is gut flora. Many intestinal bacteria, such as clostridia, can prevent sensitisation to allergens. Other probiotics replenish the intestinal wall and help prevent ‘leaky gut syndrome’, a primary cause in allergic responses. To increase gut flora, add more probiotics to your diet through the consumption of fermented foods and high-quality raw yoghurt.
It is also important to avoid the consumption of processed grains (particularly those containing gluten) and sugar, as these damage the internal microflora and promote the growth of pathogenic yeast in the body. Genetically engineered foods, conventionally-raised meats and animal products are also best left alone, as they contain harmful antibiotics, hormones and microbes that can exacerbate the symptoms of an allergy. If you want to include animal products in your diet, be sure to choose organic, grass-fed and reputable sources.
If you are susceptible to allergies, try adding bee pollen to you diet. This is a natural superfood that has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect on the body.
A person’s microbiome can be drastically affected by a variety of environmental and lifestyle choices. The use of pharmaceuticals such as antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs and proton pump inhibitors all have a negative impact on the internal flora of the body.
Where you live can also have an impact. Inhabitants of large cities tend to be more at risk of developing an allergy to pollutants, whereas those who live in agricultural areas may experience pollen allergies or reactions to pesticides and fertilisers. That said, it is commonly believed that spending time outdoors is one of the best ways to alleviate allergies. A brisk walk in nature, breathing fresh air, can alleviate stress and build immunity.
Keeping the home clean, and free from mould and dust mites is also important. Be sure to use natural cleaning products, as ones containing chemicals can also spark allergies.
Finally, avoid drinking chlorinated tap water, as this can kill healthy intestinal bacteria.
- Animal hair
- Fermented foods
- Dark, leafy greens
- Flaxseed oil
- Bee pollen
- Processed grains
- Refined sugar
- Chlorinated tap water
- Chemical household cleaners
- Genetically engineered crops
- Conventionally-produced meat and animal products